<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - Top Stories]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.comen-usThu, 17 Aug 2017 22:11:31 -0700Thu, 17 Aug 2017 22:11:31 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA['Fear on Their Faces': Witnesses Describe Barcelona Attack]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 15:46:27 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_17229692406811.jpg

Witnesses to the Barcelona terror attack described terrified people screaming and running for their lives after a van plowed through a bustling pedestrian plaza.

The attack in the tourist district of Las Ramblas sparked mass panic, NBC News reported.

"There was this tidal wave of people screaming and running towards us," said Susan McLean, a cybersecurity expert from Australia who was in the area on vacation. "People just heaved around the corner, screaming in Spanish. We had no idea what was going on."

McLean, a former police officer, said she instantly knew what had happened: terrorism.

"The fear on their faces — I just knew," she told NBC News.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Mother of Injured Child Files Suit Against Big-Rig Company]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 19:04:44 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/08-02-17+La+Mesa+Big+Rig+crash+5.JPG

The mother of a 6-year-old seriously injured after a semi truck jackknifed in La Mesa is now suing the company involved in the crash, claiming the truck driver "failed to use reasonable care to operate the big-rig."

The horrific crash happened in early August on State Route 125. The California Highway Patrol said the big rig, owned by Swift Transportation, drifted across lanes in both directions before coming to a halt in a jackknife position.

A mother and her daughter were killed, and six others were hurt.

Aneta Andarus' 6-year-old daughter has been in the hospital since the crash, listed in serious condition. Her daughter, Christina, was able to move her right and left leg for the first time since the accident on Monday, according to a post from her school, Reformation Lutheran School.

"The defendants' negligent acts proximately caused Plaintiffs' devastating injuries, including pain and suffering, financial loss, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, and emotional distress," the suit reads.

CHP says the crash investigation will take several weeks to complete, and has not released the name of the driver for her safety.

NBC 7 reached out to Swift Transportation twice on Thursday and is still waiting for a response. We will update this story once we receive it.

The most recent response NBC 7 received from Swift Transportation was on August 4, two days after the accident.

At that time, Cozette Phifer, the Vice President of Marketing and Communication for the company, said the investigation is ongoing and will not be complete "for some time."

"Because of that, we aren’t able to comment on specific personnel or decisions concerning our personnel, right now,” Phifer wrote. "All I can really tell you is that our hearts go out to all involved, including their friends and family. We are doing all we can to determine what happened, how it happened and how we can make sure it doesn’t happen, again."

The suit does not list a specific amount of damages. The name of the truck driver is also not listed on the lawsuit.

Photo Credit: NBC 7
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<![CDATA[San Diego Native in Barcelona Speaks About Terrorist Attack ]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 17:50:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/San_Diegan_Speaks_About_Terror_Attacks_from_Barcelona.jpg

A terrorist attack in Barcelona Thursday afternoon left 13 people dead and injured at least 100, according to local police. ISIS is claiming responsibility for the attack. 

Authorities said a terrorist-driven rental van plowed through a crowded plaza in the Las Ramblas district, a popular tourist destination. 

Saul Vazakas, who grew up in University City in San Diego County, is vacationing in Barcelona with friends. He said he was at Las Ramblas just hours before the terrorist attack happened. 

“It was a very busy day,” recalled Vazakas. “It was 80 or 85 degrees outside. It was a nice day. There were a lot of people out there.” 

Vazakas said he returned to his hotel about 6 blocks away from the attack site. He said he received a text from his friend minutes after the attack. He said at that time it was not reported by any news outlets yet. 

“Seeing all the people in some of the videos out there," said Vazakas. "It could have been us."

Vazakas said he immediately called his family to let them know he's okay, and ‘checked in’ as safe on Facebook to alert his friends. 

“Everything is on lock down in that area right now,” Vazakas added. 

<![CDATA[Robbers Blow Up ATMs for Cash in San Diego: FBI]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 18:30:25 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Investigtion_into_ATM_Explosion.jpg

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is searching for two men who exploded a couple of ATMs across San Diego to get cash.

In two separate instances, the robbers tried to gain access to an ATM with the use of explosive devices, according to the FBI's Joint Bank Robbery Task Force.

Last Sunday, at around 6:30 a.m., the same suspects allegedly blew up an ATM at the Chevron gas station on Miramar Road, between Kearny Villa and Black Mountain roads. That ATM was located next to a gym, with preschools and residential neighborhoods nearby.

One of the suspects drilled a hole into the ATM and filled it with gasoline, said FBI officials.

The men placed a fuse into the ATM and detonated the device; the machine exploded. Once they managed to steal from the ATM's cash box, the men took off in their vehicle, driving east on Miramar Road.

That marks the second time these suspects placed explosive devices on an ATM in San Diego, according to the FBI.

The first attempt occurred on July 4 by the Cal Coast Credit Union bank on Ruffin Road by Ridehaven Court, next to a dance studio and other businesses.

A vehicle pulled up by the ATM, and the first suspect got out of the car and placed a pipe bomb device on the machine. FBI officials said the device was detonated, exploding on the ATM and shattering a glass pane. 

In this case, the suspects were unsuccessful at getting cash out of the machine and drove away, headed south on Ruffin Road.

Their vehicle was a dark-colored, 2000 to 2006 model Ford Escape with aftermarket wheels and a tow hitch with a ball, said FBI officials.

Investigators said the first suspect was described as a man, about 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall, with a medium to heavy build. In the second robbery, he wore a dark, beanie-style hat with a short brim, a leather jacket, khaki cargo pants and dark-colored, skateboard-style shoes.

The second suspect was described as a man, about 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall, with a medium to heavy build. He wore a camouflage Gore-tex style rain jacket with a hood, dark jeans and brown boots.

<![CDATA[Aircraft Out of Miramar Experiences Loss of Pressurization]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 17:08:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/3657520+CROP.jpg

A Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron carrying 46 passengers out of MCAS Miramar lost pressurization during a scheduled training mission, leaving some Marines sick. 

The incident happened Tuesday at approximately 11:20 a.m. when the C-130J left Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, according to a statement from the U.S. Marine Corps. 

At 21,000 feet, the plane experienced a loss of pressurization. 

The air crew executed appropriate procedures and safely landed back at Miramar, officials said. 

Four Marines and one Sailor from the Camp Pendleton-based 3rd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion had symptoms of decompression sickness the next day. They were treated at Naval Medical Center San Diego and released; they did not require hospitalization. 

The incident is under investigation. 

No further information is available. 

Photo Credit: 374th Airlift Wing/Public Affair]]>
<![CDATA[Local Woman Says Friends in Spain 'Terrified' After Attack]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 21:50:04 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Barcelona_Attack_for_Facebook_1200x675_1027276867979.jpg

A Pacific Beach resident said she has been glued to her phone, calling loved ones in Spain to make sure they are safe after a terrorist attack in Barcelona.

Samantha Berns told NBC 7, the attack Thursday hit close to home and it was difficult to process the news.

A van plowed through the crowds on a busy walkway in Barcelona Thursday afternoon, killing 13 people, injuring 100 others.

Berns said her friend explained the chaos during the terror attack through Whatsapp messages.

"He said, 'Right now it’s really hard here, everything is really hard,'" Berns said, reading off her friend's message.

Berns said her friend told her when he was caught in the attack, "he had and his friends they had to run."

"When everybody started stampeding they did too," she added.

One of the most vibrant cities in the world, she explained, has gone silent Thursday night.

"My friends are terrified, they’re scared, they’re angry, they feel very nervous,” she told NBC 7.

She said those feelings won't remain forever.

"You have to acknowledge the terror and you have to move on because they're not winning," said Berns. "Tomorrow in Barcelona, at noon, they want everyone to go to the streets and they want to have a moment of silence and that's good and I want everyone to do that, I want to do that here. They don't win, the terrorists don't win."

Early Friday, authorities in Spain confirmed they had shot and killed five suspects in a seaside resort town south of Barcelona in response to a terrorist attack.

<![CDATA[Brazen Break-In Recorded on Camera in Carmel Valley]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 21:14:11 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Carmel+Valley+burglary.JPG

Two suspects stole thousands of dollars worth of jewelry belonging to a man's dying father from inside a Carmel Valley in the middle of the day.

The brazen theft was caught on surveillance video.

Dr. Anil Keswani said it was a tough week for him and his family. He was thousands of miles away when his home was broken into Tuesday. 

"I was out of town with my Dad who’s passing away. While he was actually passing away, I received a text alert that somebody was at my door," Keswani said. "The next thing I know is I get a call from my neighbor who told me there appeared to be two men who were carrying a very heavy box out of my house."

The thieves made their way to the side of the house, and then moved to the back, getting to the second-floor balcony and breaking a window.

Once inside, they stole a safe filled with passports and jewelry, including an engagement ring belonging to Keswani's grandmother.

"It was a very precise, calculated process," Keswani told NBC  7.

He said he’s devastated by the loss, but said it could have been a lot worse. Two of his children left just a few minutes before the thieves broke in.

According to San Diego police, the suspects' car is a 2017 white Honda Accord with paper plates with red lettering on them.

If you have any information, you are asked to call SDPD at (619)531-2000.

<![CDATA[Search for Residential Burglary Suspects in Carmel Valley]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 20:30:21 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/8-17-17-Carmel+Valley+Burglary.jpg

San Diego police are asking for the public's help in finding who broke into a Carmel Valley home through the bathroom window and ransacked the place, racing to their getaway car only when they tripped a motion detector. 

On Tuesday, the residents of a home in the 12900 block of Harkwick Lane left their home to run errands. The home is located north of State Route 56 and south of Del Mar Heights Road. 

Within the same hour, at approximately 1:50 p.m., a silver Kia Soul parked outside the home. 

The female driver, described as a woman with long, straight black hair down to her waist, went up to the house and knocked on the front door for about three minutes. She returned to the car. 

Two suspects -- two men -- then got out of the car and walked up to the house while the car drove away. 

The two men snuck in through a side gate and broke the bathroom window, crawling into the home, police said. 

The men ransacked the home for approximately 30 minutes before they triggered an upstairs alarm motion detector and fled, police said. 

When the suspect ran out, the Kia Soul was waiting for them. 

The suspect got into the car, and the vehicle was seen driving southbound on Ashley Falls Drive. 

The female driver was last seen wearing a light colored blouse, tight fitting black pants, and black heels, or pumps. She also carried a light colored, oversized purse on her right shoulder. 

The first suspect was last seen wearing a light colored hoodie, possibly with a logo across the chest, with the hood pulled up over his head, dark colored athletic pants with several thin, parallel, white or light colored stripes running down the side, and dark shoes. 

The second suspect was seen wearing a red hoodie with the hood pulled up, light colored pants and black or dark colored shoes. 

No further information is available. Anyone with information is asked to call police at (858) 523-7041. 

Photo Credit: San Diego Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[SD Blood Bank in Critical Need of Donations]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 20:14:13 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Summer_Blood_Drive_Seeks_Blood_Donations.jpg

San Diego Blood Bank announced a need for those who have not given blood recently to consider donating as soon as possible.

The need for blood is expected to increase as Labor Day approaches and supplies are reaching critically low levels, the San Diego Blood Bank announced Thursday.

The blood shortage is not just in San Diego, but nationwide.

“This summer is a difficult time not only for us here in San Diego but across the country as well,” said SD Blood Bank Chief Executive Officer David Wells. “There is no substitute for blood—donations are critically needed.”

Blood transfusions are used for hospital patients who experience blood loss due to trauma, as well as those battling blood disorders like aplastic anemia, sickle cell anemia and leukemia, according to the SD Blood Bank website.

Blood bank replenishment is necessary because blood has a shelf life of only 42 days, and blood platelets, which are used for burn victims and cancer patients, only last five days, according to the Miller-Keystone Blood Center

The SD Blood Bank said eligibility requirements are the donor must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 114 pounds and feel healthy without cold or flu-like symptoms. Sixteen year olds are also allowed to donate, with parental consent.

An eligible donor can give blood every eight weeks, according to The American Red Cross.

The SD Blood Bank encourages people to become regular donors because only five percent of those eligible to donate actually do, according to the SD Blood Bank fact sheet. O positive and O negative blood types are especially needed.

Those interested in donating blood can call 1-800-4-MY-SDBB or visit the SD Blood Bank website.

<![CDATA[Sales of Eclipse Sunglasses Soar in Oceanside]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 19:24:24 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/solar-eclipse-glasses.jpg

San Diegans hoping to buy a pair of coveted solar eclipse sunglasses must move quickly, as sales rocket approaching the big day.

While locals are preparing to get a glimpse of the once-in-a-century eclipse, the essential sunglasses are selling like hot cakes across town. This has proved to be especially true for the Oceanside Photo and Telescope (OPT) shop in Oceanside.

“We've had 60,000 of them in, and we've sold out of every single one of those,” said Jason Brown, an employee at OPT. “If you look through them, you actually can’t see anything at all. But when you look up at the sun, you’ll see a nice big orange dot.”

On Friday, the store will receive a shipment of 400 more glasses, that slightly resemble 3-D movie glasses. They expect to sell out by 10 a.m.

“It’s that perfect timing when the moon gets right in front of the sun, in between us and the sun. We get what we call a solar eclipse,” said Ashantis Davis, the exhibit projects supervisor at the Fleet Science Center.

Davis explained that the last time an eclipse like this passed through the U.S. was back in 1918, and one that passed a portion of the U.S. in 1979.

San Diegans will be able to view the eclipse at 65 percent, according to the Fleet Center.

Other safe ways to view the eclipse without glasses include a pinhole, a camera obscura or even welding safety glasses in shade 14, said Ashantis.

“We can kind of calculate it based upon dates and times. This is how we’re able to tell you that the next one will happen in about 25 years,” said Davis.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[2 Marijuana Dispensaries Raided by SDPD]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 18:14:37 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/marijuana-GettyImages_698723.jpg

Four people were arrested at one of two pot dispensaries raided Thursday by San Diego police. 

The San Diego Police Department’s Narcotics Unit served search warrants at two dispensaries they said were operating illegally. 

The Healing Center at 7920 Arjons Drive and Kush Factory at 6790 Top Gun Street were the targets of the warrants.

Four people working at The Healing Center were arrested and issued misdemeanor citations, police said. 

Officers also seized approximately 30 pounds of marijuana, $37,000 in cash, multiple types of edibles and concentrated cannabis. Officials also took business records from the dispensary. 

The Kush Factory was closed for renovation. Officers said the business records seized will lead them to the owner who will be charged with operating an illegal business as well as the sale of marijuana.

Police and the city attorney's office have now closed down more than 60 dispensaries since they began a targeted crackdown last March, Lt. Matt Novak said.

"The goal is to eliminate all illegal marijuana businesses, whether it be dispensaries, delivery services, [or] any other businesses that might try to open illegally without going through the city's legal permitting process for marijuana businesses," said SDPD Lt. Matt Novak, who oversees the Narcotics Unit.

He said relentless civil and criminal prosecution appear to be working. But some illegal marijuana dispensaries are still reaping the benefits, making up to $15,000 a day.

"And they don't pay taxes, they don't have to pay the permitting fees, they don't have to adhere to a lot of the rules that the legal process makes them do," added Novak.

Police officials said the narcotics unit is working with the City Attorney’s office to investigate marijuana businesses including delivery services and dispensaries operating illegally within city limits.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Awakened by Strange Man in Bedroom ]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 18:50:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/8-17-17-Little+Italy+Suspect.jpg

A woman sleeping next to her boyfriend was sexually assaulted Thursday by a strange man in her apartment, San Diego police said.

The brazen crime occurred just before 2 a.m. on India Street in the Little Italy neighborhood downtown.

Police released a composite sketch of the suspect, along with two pictures of a man from surveillance videos whom they believe may be the suspect.

The woman, in her 20s, told police she awakened to a man sexually assaulting her as she lay in her bed.

"It's a very bold person, I will tell you that--very bold person to do that," said SDPD Lt. Brent Williams.

The woman fought the man off. Then, her boyfriend chased him out of the apartment, police said. The suspect ran toward India Street until the boyfriend lost sight of him.

Neighbors told NBC 7, they are shaken up by the incident.

"We're one door over. These buildings are old, people sleep with their windows open. That could have been us," said Courtney Kiesie.

Police believe the man entered the apartment through a window that opens to an alley.

"What we would ask San Diegans--if they have to leave their windows open--is to somehow secure it. Depending how windows open, it can be secured with a stick or a pole," Williams said.

The couple was sleeping with the window open because the apartment does not have air conditioning. 

"In the past, we've had crimes where assailants were able to get up to those higher level windows and still make entry. So you want to be safe and we want all citizens to be safe," Williams said.

No other information was available.

Please refresh this page for updates on this story. Details may change as more information becomes available.

Photo Credit: San Diego County Crimestoppers]]>
<![CDATA[SDPD: Valencia Park Man Beaten by Group of Masked Men]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 12:48:45 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Valencia-Park-robbery-081717.jpg

A Valencia Park homeowner was beaten and robbed by a group of four to five men armed with bats and golf clubs, San Diego police said.

Hours after the incident, police may be closer to finding the culprits. Police spotted the stolen Lexus GS 300 sedan taken from the home and attempted to pull the car over in San Diego's Ridgeview neighborhood. 

The driver fled, starting a pursuit through surface streets. The suspects bailed near Charles Lewis Park, and officers are combing through the neighborhood to try and find the man accused of the robbery. 

The group broke into the man’s home on Cervantes Avenue near Bonita Drive after 3:30 a.m. The neighborhood is located east of Interstate 805 and north of Division Street.

The homeowner was sleeping in the house when he heard a commotion out front.

“One had a gun, one had a baseball bat and a couple had golf clubs,” said SDPD Robbery Lt. Eric Hays

Police said the men forced their way into the home and beat the homeowner.

Hays said the men asked to see the homeowner’s 19-year-old stepson who was not home at the time.

The men took keys to the family’s Lexus and drove off in the vehicle.

A neighbor heard the man screaming for help and called 911. 

The homeowner was rushed to Scripps Mercy Hospital with injuries to his face.

Officers said the men were wearing dark clothing with bandanas across their face.

Police are looking for a Lexus GS 300 sedan with California license plates 7NQP954. There is believed to be a 9mm gun in the car, police said. 

<![CDATA[Jefferson Davis Plaque Removed from San Diego Park]]> Wed, 16 Aug 2017 20:33:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/vlcsnap-2017-08-16-16h03m24s096.png

A plaque recognizing a highway named in honor of the president of the Confederacy was removed Wednesday in San Diego. 

The plaque was located in San Diego’s Horton Plaza Park, an estimated 2,000 miles away from Jefferson Davis’ birthplace in Fairview, Kentucky. Crews removed the plaque around 8:30 a.m., said city spokesman Craig Gustafson.

The City plans to return the plaque to the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which originally donated the plaque in 1926, said Gustafson. 

In Baltimore, Maryland, Confederate monuments were quietly removed and hauled away on trucks early Wednesday, days after a violent white nationalist rally in Virginia that was sparked by plans to take down a similar statue there.

In San Diego City, Council member Chris Ward (District 3) announced the plaque's removal Wednesday via social media. His Tweet included a photo of the place where the plaque used to be located.

"While some may see many sides to this issue, monuments to bigotry have no place in San Diego," Ward said, adding the removal of the plaque is a small but "critically important step" to keep the city as an inclusive place. 

The plaque was a marker along the Jefferson Davis Highway. 

In the early 1900s, the United Daughters of the Confederacy proposed a memorial highway that would stretch from Miami to Los Angeles. 

The Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway was designed to rival the Lincoln Highway. It would be composed of five highways and run along the southern border of the U.S. The roads included the Borderland Trail that ran through San Diego from Los Angeles to El Paso, Texas. 

Eventually, the Jefferson Davis National Highway was divided into numbered highways - U.S. 1, U.S. 15, U.S. 29, U.S. 80, U.S. 90, etc, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. 

For decades, the plaque remained at Horton Plaza, until the Westfield group started a major redevelopment of the site in 2011, said Gustafson.

“The goal of this project is the rehabilitation of the historic park site to include elements that were present from 1910 to approximately 1930," stated the Historic Assessment Summary for the project in September 2011.

The plaque was listed as a historical feature to remain in the park in the assessment, said Gustafson.

City officials said there were ten public hearings for the construction project before it was approved, but there was no controversy over the plaque. When construction began in 2014, the plaque was removed and included as one of the historic restorations when the park reopened last year.

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<![CDATA[Charlottesville Victim's Mother: 'I've Had Death Threats']]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 17:13:19 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_17226511112426.jpg

A day after burying her daughter, the mother of a woman killed during Saturday’s white nationalist rally in Charlottesville said she has received death threats. She also criticized President Donald Trump’s claim that violence on "both sides" lead to her daughter's death.

"Whether there was violence on both sides or not is irrelevant," Bro told MSNBC's Katy Tur. "The guy mowed my daughter down and, sorry, that’s not excusable."

In the exclusive interview, Bro said that the White House has reached out to her three times since her daughter’s death, but that she hasn’t had a chance to speak to President Trump.

Despite the threats, Bro said she refuses to live in fear and has vowed to continue to carry on her daughter’s legacy by establishing a foundation in her name.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Joshua Replogle
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<![CDATA[Advertised Deal Turns Into Bundle Blunder]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 17:48:50 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Bundle+Blunder_IzabelleDucet_8.17.17.jpg

Izabelle Doucet said she signed up for a special bundle package through AT&T when she saw an advertisement offering TV, internet and phone services for $89.99 a month for two years. 

“When I called, I asked if there was any fine print because I thought it was a very good price,” she said. “They have caused me so much trouble.” 

Izabelle signed up for the deal with monthly auto-payments but when the charges started coming, Izabelle said she wasn’t being charged the amount she agreed to. 

“It was $298 and $278, it was way up there,” Izabelle said. 

Izabelle said she tried calling AT&T representatives but was told a different story each time. During one call, she said she was told the charges were valid and part of the bundle rate but during another call, she said she was told the charges were made in error. 

By Izabelle’s count, she said she had overpaid AT&T more than $400 and she was getting nowhere with AT&T representatives. 

“It always turns out to be a fish tale, nothing happens,” Izabelle said. 

Izabelle said the only option she had was to ask NBC 7 Responds for help. We contacted AT&T and at first, the company only removed half of the charges, stating the rest was owed for the bundle plan. After NBC 7 Responds explained the price and details for the plan Izabelle had initially signed up for, the company reduced Izabelle’s balance to zero. 

Izabelle said she was not offered a refund for the amount she overpaid AT&T but she is happy the balance the company said she owed will now go away.

<![CDATA[Trump Abandons Plans for Infrastructure Advisory Council]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 15:27:16 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_17227767777003.jpg

President Donald Trump will not move forward with a plan to form an advisory council on infrastructure, NBC News reported.

"The President has announced the end of the Manufacturing Council and the Strategy & Policy Forum. In addition, the President's Advisory Council on Infrastructure, which was still being formed, will not move forward," a White House official said Thursday.

Infrastructure was one of the major priorities the White House hoped Congress would tackle after the August break.

The announcement comes just one day after his Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum ended following a spate of CEO resignations in the wake of Trump's response to a white nationalist attack in Charlottesville, Virginia, that occurred last Saturday.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais]]>
<![CDATA[$6K Reward for Information on Suspect Who Shot Deputy]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 14:23:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Suspect+Off+Deputy+Shooting1.JPG

After an hours-long SWAT standoff, the man accused of shooting an off-duty sheriff's deputy is still at large.

A combined reward up to $6,000 is available for information leading to an arrest in this case, according to San Diego County Crime Stoppers.

Ray Pitoau, 37, was the target of a five hour-long SWAT standoff in Spring Valley last week. SDPD officers used flash bangs, a k-9 team and a robot to try and catch him. Once SWAT officers finally entered the house, there was no trace of Pitoau.

San Diego Police investigators have asked the public to be on the lookout for Pitoau, who is considered armed and dangerous, according to San Diego County Crime Stoppers.

He is suspected of shooting an off-duty sheriff's deputy in the Gaslamp area on Aug. 7. Crime Stopper officials said Pitoau is 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighs about 225 pounds, has black hair and brown eyes. He also has a large "SD" tattoo on his upper right chest.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts can call San Diego police at (619)531-2000 or the Crime Stoppers anonymous tip line at (888)580-8477.

Crime Stoppers has offered up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest. The Deputy Sheriff's Association of San Diego County is also offering a $5,000 reward to anyone with information that leads to an arrest in this case.

Photo Credit: San Diego County Crime Stoppers]]>
<![CDATA[SDG&E: Company Has Enough Power to Last During Eclipse]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 14:10:19 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_17221719095076-CATE-Experiment-Eclipse-Science.jpg

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) says the company will have enough energy to power San Diego through Monday's solar eclipse, when solar generation is expected to drop. 

As the sky darkens, the sun is expected to be obscured by nearly 60 percent in San Diego, resulting in a loss of 500 megawatts of solar generation.

That is about 14 percent of the electricity customers consume on a typical warm summer day, according to SDG&E.

In San Diego, more than 114,000 private rooftop solar installations are scattered throughout local communities, stated SDG&E.

That’s about seven percent of SDG&E’s customers, who together are capable of producing up to 760 megawatts of solar energy, which is greater than any single power plant connected to the SDG&E electricity grid.

To meet customers’ needs during the eclipse, SDG&E will rely on natural gas facilities and energy storage, which are both currently playing an essential daily role in maintaining a reliable power grid.

With both resources online, SDG&E can ensure the delivery of clean, safe and reliable power to customers during this unique event.

To help conserve energy during the solar eclipse, follow these steps below:

  • Adjust your thermostat to 78F for AC.
  • Avoid charging your electric vehicle during peak demand hours.
  • Do loads of laundry during off-peak hours.
  • Run your dishwasher earlier in the day, or late at night.

Photo Credit: R. Baer, S. Kovac/Citizen CATE Experiment via AP]]>
<![CDATA[Music, Art, Food & Views: Chula Vista’s 2017 HarborFest]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 13:54:11 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Chula-+Vista-HarborFest-Facebook.jpg

Chula Vista’s harbor will be especially lively this weekend as the community’s free, annual summer festival brings live music, activities, food and more to the scenic site.

The 2017 HarborFest returns to Bayside Park (999 Bayside Pkwy.) this Saturday, from 10 .am. until 6 p.m., with a long lineup of entertainment for the whole family. The event typically draws a large crowd, so a good way to get there is to park at the H Street Trolley Station. From there, you can hop on the free Old Town Trolley Shuttle, which will drop off attendees at the entrance to the festival.

The shuttle will run every half-hour; two other park and ride locations are the Bayfront Park Parking Lot 2 and the dirt lot at Marina Parkway and J Street. Check out this map for details.

There will also be a paid parking lot off Sandpiper Way and G Street, near the festival that offers limited spaces during the event. It’ll cost $10 to park there.

HarborFest will boast three stages of live entertainment – the Main, Community, and Latin Beats stages – with performances beginning at 10 a.m. The lineups include a mix of DJs, bands, dancers and solo singers.

The festival will also feature many activities, including “Xorbing” – running and bouncing in giant hamster balls – stand-up paddleboarding, yoga, and an “Art in the Park” area with local artists exhibiting and selling their original pieces.

As for food, there are a few options, including vendors stationed at the Food Truck Alley area, or noshing on bites at the “Tacos, Spirits and Beer” zone – a foodie festival within the festival. A $25 ticket to this part of the event gets you unlimited samples of tacos created by top-notch local chefs, plus sips from beverage purveyors. Winos might also enjoy the festival’s “Champagne, Rosé and Wine Tasting” event, where $10 gets you two tastes and one full pour.

For more details on HarborFest, click here.

Photo Credit: Chula Vista HarborFest/Facebook
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<![CDATA[Trump Cites 'Pants on Fire' Claim in Barcelona Response]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 15:05:05 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/trump-genpershing-split.jpg

After a van plowed through a crowd of pedestrians in Barcelona on Thursday, killing at least 13 people and wounding scores more, President Donald Trump tweeted a reference to a discredited story about Gen. John Pershing halting Muslim attacks in the Philippines by shooting rebels with bullets dipped in pigs’ blood.

“Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught,” Trump wrote on his personal account. “There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years.”

It was at least Trump's second reference to a story already labeled false last year, this time coming days after the president justified his equivocal response in assigning blame for violence in Charlottesville by saying that before he makes a statement, "I need the facts." 

The Pershing story, which Trump also recounted at the end of a rally in South Carolina in February 2016, has been debunked by several fact-checking organizations, including Politifact and Snopes. Politfact labeled it Pants on Fire! false on its Truth-O-Meter and Snopes called it “false.”

The story — which according to Trump’s telling had Pershing shooting 50 Muslim terrorists with 50 bullets dipped in pigs blood — grew out of the Philippine-American War of 1899-1902. The United States had obtained the islands from Spain but faced armed opposition that continued after the war, when Pershing served as governor of the heavily Muslim Moro Province. Politifact found references to Muslim insurgents being buried with dead pigs but not being killed with bloodied bullets and not by Pershing.

Muslims are prohibited from eating pork. 

“This story is a fabrication and has long been discredited,” Brian McAllister Linn, a Texas A&M University historian and author of Guardians of Empire: The U.S. Army and the Pacific, 1902-1940, told Politifact. “I am amazed it is still making the rounds.”

Even if the tale were true, Politifact wrote, it had no pacifying effect. The region remains in unrest today.

Snopes noted that Pershing thought the best approach was not to encourage religious fanaticism.

“Nonetheless, the ‘discouraging Muslim terrorists by burying them with pigs’ concept is still invoked in the modern era, even if the evidence of its use (or success) remains nebulous,” Snopes wrote.

Trump’s tweet Thursday came after Catalan officials had confirmed a terrorist attack but were still trying to identify the suspect they arrested.

That was in stark contrast to Trump's actions in the hours and days after an alleged white nationalist, James Allen Fields Jr., was accused of driving a car through a crowd in Charlottesville, North Carolina, over the weekend, killing counter-protester Heather Heyer.

Trump defended his delayed response in calling out white supremacists by name until two days after the attack by saying he didn’t “know all the facts.” 

“I think there is blame on both sides,” Trump went on to say this week, doubling down on his initial take that “many sides" were to blame for violence in Charlottesville.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations criticized Trump for tweeting false information soon after the Barcelona attack, while claiming he needed “facts” before responding to the white nationalists and neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville.

“We condemn the terror attack in Barcelona, and we condemn President Trump's irresponsible and Islamophobic response to that attack,” said the group's executive director, Nihad Awad.

Trump's Pershing tweet Thursday followed an earlier, more restrained one, expressing sympathy for the people of Barcelona.

“The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help,” Trump wrote. “Be tough & strong, we love you!”

Photo Credit: AP/Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Mel and Linda Katz Named 'Mr. and Mrs. San Diego']]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 14:19:26 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/199*120/San-Diego-skyline-generic-01.jpg

Each year, two individuals who show outstanding commitment to bettering San Diego and the community are selected to be Mr. and Mrs. San Diego.

San Diego Rotary, the fourth largest Rotary Club in the world, announced the naming of renowned community leaders Mel and Linda Katz as the 2017 "Mr. and Mrs. San Diego" on Thursday.

Their success in business is eclipsed only by their collective devotion to both economic development and civic improvement.

"To say that Mel and Linda are icons in our city and individuals who embody the Rotary spirit of 'Service Above Self' is an understatement," said Robert G. Russell, President of San Diego Rotary, in a statement. "We couldn't be more honored to name them this year's Mr. and Mrs. San Diego."

Mel Katz has been one of San Diego's most respected business and civic leaders since 1977, when he purchased the local Manpower franchise with Phil Blair. Today, they have franchises in six states and are the largest Manpower franchise in the U.S.

Beyond Manpower, Mel's devotion to both advancing economic equity for working people and civic improvement has earned him an impeccable reputation in the San Diego community. He is an outspoken advocate of K-12 and post-secondary education. Mel was also a major public supporter of the Living Wage, Minimum Wage and Earned Sick Leave measures.

He currently serves as a board member of the UC San Diego Foundation, the San Diego Rotary Foundation, e3 Civic High (the charter High School in the library) and inewsource.

Mel was board chair of the San Diego Public Library Foundation, which raises funds for the 35 branch libraries in the City of San Diego. He also worked with the Library Foundation board and its professional team that raised $195 million for the new Central Library, which opened in September 2013.

As a full-time community volunteer and social/civic activist for more than three decades, Linda is passionate about supporting the most vulnerable populations of women and girls.

Linda is the Founding President of The San Diego Women's Foundation. She is also a Co-Founder of Women Give San Diego.

Having been involved with Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest for more than 35 years, Linda is committed to protecting access to safe and legal reproductive health care for women and men.

Linda is a past Board Chair of LEAD San Diego, Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, Serving Seniors and Rady Children's Hospital Auxiliary.  Other Boards Linda has served on include: The San Diego Foundation, Rady Children's Hospital Foundation, United Way of San Diego County, Junior League of San Diego, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Francis Parker School and the San Diego Symphony.

Mel and Linda have been married for 40 years and have three children and five grandchildren.

The Mr. and Mrs. San Diego award has been in existence since 1952. For 45 years, the San Diego Rotary has been in charge of selecting an individual each year that has contributed outstanding community betterment to the region in various ways. Mel and Linda Katz succeed Leon Williams and Lucy Killea, who were last year's award co-recipients.

San Diego Rotary will present the awards at its September 14 luncheon. For more details on this event, click here.

<![CDATA[Man Who Burned Retina During Eclipse Warns Others]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 13:11:41 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/NC_eclipserisk0817_1500x845.jpg

An Oregon man who burned his retina while looking at a partial solar eclipse more than 50 years ago has some words of advice for people tempted to look at the sun without using protective glasses: Don’t do it.

Lou Tomososki was a high school teen in 1962 when his science teacher told the class about a solar eclipse that was going to take place that afternoon, NBC affiliate KGW reported.

Tomososki and a friend viewed the partial eclipse outside Marshall High School in Portland.

"The sun at that time, at 3:30 p.m., was in the one o’clock position," said Tomososki. "I said to Roger, 'If you stare at it long enough the brightness goes away.'"

By that night, both Tomososki and Roger were having vision problems. He said the vision problems never got any worse — but they also never got any better. A doctor later him that he had burned his retina during the eclipse.

Now, at 70, he says he and his friend both still have vision problems to this day.

"You know how the news people blur a license plate out," said Tomososki. "That’s what I have on the right eye, about the size of a pea, I can’t see around that."

Dr. Brandon Lujan of the Casey Eye Institute in Oregon tells KGW that looking at the solar eclipse for "even an instant" can damage the eyes.

As for Tomososki, he says he’s excited about the upcoming eclipse on Aug. 21, but this time, he’s not going to be looking at the sky.

"I’m going to go out and enjoy it. But I’ll stand and watch it get dark," he said.

Photo Credit: KGW]]>
<![CDATA[Why Cat Memes Flooded Twitter After the Barcelona Attack]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 14:45:30 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_17229609068919.jpg

Authorities in Barcelona turned to social media in the wake of a terror attack in the northeastern Spanish city to request residents refrain from sharing images of the wounded out of respect for their families.

At least 13 people were killed and about 100 injured after a white van jumped onto a sidewalk and sped down a pedestrian zone in Barcelona's historic Las Ramblas district, authorities said. 

As the appeal went unheeded by some, social media users took it upon themselves to flood Twitter with cat memes urging restraint under the hashtag #Barcelona.

The move was reminiscent of a public appeal made by police in November 2015 as Brussels authorities asked for a social media blackout while they conducted a series of terror raids across the city.

As the raids were conducted and 16 were ultimately arrested, the hashtag #BrusselsLockdown began trending as police cast a net around the city. Instead of foiling police movements, residents instead posted photos of cats across the internet.

Following the Belgian raid police thanked those who helped out on social media, posting a tweet reading: "For the cats who helped us last night ... Help yourself!"

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Judge Disciplined for 'Undignified' Conduct in Court]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 14:36:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Judge-Kreep-blurb.jpg

A San Diego judge was disciplined Thursday for strange behavior from the bench including using nicknames, commenting on the attractiveness of attorneys and once asking a prostitute if she did it for the money or the action.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Gary Kreep received a severe public censure from a state commission on judicial ethics. It’s the highest level of discipline available to enact on a sitting judge short of removal of office.

Judge Kreep runs his court in an “undignified manner” that “suggested bias or prejudgment”, according to the commission.


The censure states Kreep speaks Spanish to litigants based on their surname, called an adult man “little boy” and referred to attorneys by nicknames like “Dimples”, “Bunhead” and “Shorty.”

“Judge Kreep had engaged in a pattern of misconduct that demonstrated a lack of judicial temperament,” the statement reads.


In his response, Kreep said he wanted to make his courtroom “user-friendly” and relaxed. He said he felt the goals of administering justice are more likely achieved in that type of environment.


“The commission gave him due consideration and spent a lot of time looking at the record and reaching a conclusion it feels was justified under the circumstances of the case,” said attorney James Murphy who represented Kreep in the investigation.

Kreep, who was elected to the court in 2012, earned his undergraduate degree at UC San Diego in 1972 and his law degree from the University of San Diego in 1978.

He narrowly defeated Deputy District Attorney Garland Peed in 2012, winning with just 50.04 percent of the vote.

Murphy said the important thing is that Kreep was not removed from the bench

He said his client hopes to be the best judicial officer he can be and continue serving the people of San Diego. 

His term expires in 2019.  

Photo Credit: Ballotpedia, NBC 7
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<![CDATA[Barcelona Attack: District Typically Packed With Tourists ]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 12:53:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/lasramblastourists_1200x675.jpg

The Barcelona district where a vehicle fatally struck and injured dozens Thursday, La Ramblas, is always crowded with tourists from all across the world. 

Ramblas, which derives from the Arabic word for sand, caters to thousands of tourists with restaurants, shops and street performers. 

The district houses former monasteries and convents, art museums, the opera house Gran Teatre del Liceu and an indoor market.

Barcelona has began the first day for La Festa Major de Gracia, a public holiday that coincides with the Christian holy day, "Assumption Day."

Photo Credit: Getty Images/David Ramos]]>
<![CDATA[Issa Calls for Hearing on Impact of White Supremacist Groups]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 13:16:03 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Darrell-Issa-0128.jpg

A Republican congressman has called for a judiciary hearing on the impact of white supremacist groups on civil rights in America, following the violent protests in Charlottesville that left one woman dead and 20 injured.

"A rally in Charlottesville, Virginia was attended by hundreds of self-identified members of the KKK, white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other repulsive hate groups," said Rep. Darrell Issa, R-49th District, in a statement released Thursday.

He denounced the attack as a "despicable display of bigotry and evil," and said the nation must work to fully understand what caused these tragedies and why hateful, extremist ideologies still persist.

"As members of the committee of jurisdiction on issues related to civil rights and democracy, we too have a unique duty to examine the impact recent displays of hatred from white supremacist groups have on civil rights in America," he continued.

The House Homeland Security Committee will examine the events from the perspective of "domestic terrorism," in a hearing on Sept. 12, said Issa.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Department of Justice will hold a federal civil rights investigation into the deadly car-ramming incident that targeted counter-protesters at the white nationalist rally.

Issa's call places pressure on the House Judiciary Committee to hold a hearing on the topic of white supremacist groups in September. 

"While Congress cannot legislate respect, decency or acceptance of others, we have an obligation to use our platform to lead our country forward on these matters," added Issa.

Shortly after President Donald Trump declared "there is blame on both sides" of the violent Charlottesville protests on Tuesday, Issa released a statement on Twitter unequivocally denouncing white supremacy.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego
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<![CDATA[SDUSD Mistakenly Notifies Wrong Families for Free Lunch]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 07:06:30 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/School+Lunch+Program+6P+VO+-+00-00-09-14_23128109.jpg

The San Diego Unified School District says it made a mistake when it notified thousands of families that their children could get free and reduced lunch--a benefit given to students from low-income families.

The email, dated Aug. 4, was actually sent out Wednesday morning.

It read, in part: "Each child identified below is automatically directly certified and approved for free meals for the 2017 -2018 school year. You do not need to submit an application for free and reduced priced meals."

Gary Petill, Director of Food and Nutrition Services, told NBC 7, the email was a mistake.

"Today we had a glitch in our computing system with the software program," Petill said.

He said students who are directly certified and approved for free meals include foster youth, migrant youth, children whose families qualify for Cal Fresh--which were once food stamps--and families on Medi Cal.

The problem is the email was sent to the wrong group of families.

"It went out to 13,000 families. It could have gone out to 40,000," said Petill.

He added that as soon as the error was identified, another e-mail was sent to parents explaining the situation.

Some parents who did mistakenly receive the email knew something was wrong.

Comments on a Facebook post include:

"I thought it was spam."

"I was quite confused."

"I thought it was odd.”

"I haven't seen the comments," Petill said, speaking of the Facebook post. "I’ve spoken to some of the parents and they say we don't want to take money away from kids who should have it."

Two hours after the first letter was emailed, at 8 a.m., Petill said the process was stopped and then a correction letter was sent out.

"It will also tell them they can apply online if they feel their income meets eligibility guideline based on household income," Petill said.

That household income threshold is $44,444 a year for a family of four.

"I would be really surprised if someone would try to take advantage of it," said Scripps Ranch parent, Laura Maxwell. "That would be bad."

<![CDATA[Neighbors Pray for Boy Found 'Severely' Abused]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 06:29:16 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Murrieta+Abused+Boy+vigil.JPG

Dozens gathered to pray for a 5-year-old boy outside the home of a U.S. Navy sailor, who was arrested, along with his girlfriend, on suspicion of severely abusing the child.

Benjamin Matthew Whitten, 33, a Murrieta resident stationed in San Diego and Jeryn Christine Johnson, 25, were arrested Tuesday. Both were booked on suspicion of child abuse and inflicting great bodily injury on a person under 10 years old.

Whitten's son remains in intensive care at Rady Children's Hospital.

Wednesday night, about 50 people gathered outside the home to pray for the boy.

"As a mother, I want to hold him and let him know everything is going to be ok," vigil organizer Myra Jacobson said.

"Sometimes he'd try to come out and play," one neighbor said. "But they would like just pull him back in."

Next door neighbor Amy Mitchell told NBC 7, she saw the boy as he was taken to the hospital.

"They were just pumping on his chest and he had like a defibrillator or something in his mouth," Mitchell said.

Investigators said the boy had severe injuries and was malnourished.

Stephanie Lewis said her daughter went to the same day care as the boy. She added he was small and underweight for his age.

"I feel...sorry...I feel like we should have known something. I feel like the provider should have reported," Lewis said.

Murrietta police also discovered 11 dogs, four cats and two fish inside the home, which was described at "extremely unsanitary."

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Airline Launches Flights Out of Carlsbad to Las Vegas]]> Wed, 16 Aug 2017 21:03:57 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Cal+Jet+by+Elite+Airways.JPG

North County residents planning a Las Vegas getaway in the future now have a new way to get to Sin City. 

Cal Jet by Elite Airways announced Wednesday it is launching nonstop jet services from McClellan-Palomar Airport (CLD) in Carlsbad to McCarran International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas.

"It's been a long time coming, but finally it has arrived -- a real airline offering activity to the public with a new scheduled transportation alternative," said Peter Drinkwater, Director of County Airports.

For years, CLD has been home to corporate and private planes. Now, it has a commercial partner.

The County of San Diego has invested millions of dollars to improve the terminal, which is now ready for the airline to move in and for TSA to come in and operate screening procedures.

Wednesday, a large group gathered on the tarmac to celebrate the launch.

"Our beautiful but vacant county airport terminal facility has been several years waiting for this day to arrive," Drinkwater said.

But easy access and convenience are only part of the benefit to North County travelers.

"New twice-daily service to Las Vegas will greatly benefit the airport and greater North San Diego County by generating positive revenue sources and new jobs—while saving north county residents hours of unnecessary drive time and long lines," said Robert Daly, CEO of Cal Jet by Elite Airways.

Right now, the airline is also offering online airfares to Las Vegas for as low as $69 one way, competing with larger airline companies like Southwest.

George Wozniak, the company's president, told NBC 7 that the airline will not charge a premium for flying out of CLD.

Wozniak said the company chose Las Vegas as their first destination for the launch for a number of reasons.

"We needed leisure potential to drive that market because leisure travelers buy closer in, believe it or not," Wozniak said. "It's a very big business destination too, but the combined two will make this successful just operating one city."

Cal Jet by Elite Airways' Bombardier CRJ-700 jet aircraft has six first class seats and 58 all-leather seats in the coach cabin.

Passengers will also get free snacks and beverages onboard, a first checked baggage up to 50 pounds and no seat reservation fees, according to the airline.

At this time, company executives will not disclose which cities they will target next. But they do say the airline will expand its services.

The first flight out of Carlsbad to Las Vegas will be on Sept. 28.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[SDPD Increasing Security Checks at “Soft Targets," Data Show]]> Wed, 16 Aug 2017 15:34:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/sdpd-generic-patrol-car-072517.jpg

“Homeland security checks” are on the rise this year in the City of San Diego, and the Islamic Center of San Diego is the most frequent location for them, according to police data analyzed by NBC 7 Investigates.

The checks are proactive measures police take as part of their community policing strategy to provide extra security to particular people and places, San Diego Police Department spokesman Scott Wahl said.

The goal, he said, is to keep an eye on “soft targets,” or places relatively unprotected and vulnerable.

NBC 7 Investigates analyzed SDPD calls for service data from 2015 to the present. (The data are publicly available on the City of San Diego’s open data portal.) The data show police have performed more homeland security checks in the first eight months of 2017 (640 checks) than they did in all of 2015 (434 checks) and 2016 (517 checks).

This year, according to the data, police performed 123 homeland security checks at the 7000 Eckstrom Ave block. It’s home to the Islamic Center of San Diego, Islamic School of San Diego and Masjid Abu Bakr mosque. The data show police often perform checks there multiple times per day and in the middle of the night.

“The overall intent is to put police presence at a particular location to make sure that, one, we are making people feel safe, and two, acting as a deterrent to anyone who would wish to harm or commit a crime at that location,” Wahl said. “It’s more on the customer service side than anything else.”

Taha Hassane, director of the Islamic Center, said for the past few years the Islamic Center has had an arrangement with the SDPD to patrol its area more often. Hassane, who sits on an advisory board to the SDPD Chief Shelley Zimmerman, said the Islamic Center asks police to park their cars at or near the religious center while they fill out paperwork from other incidents in order to provide a visible presence.

“This will give two messages: a message to our community members that our place is safe and protected, and a message to whoever thinks to attack or vandalize or do anything wrong that they have to think twice about doing that,” Hassane said.

According to the data, the second most checked location in 2017, after the Islamic Center, is the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center located in La Jolla. The data show police completed 95 homeland security checks there.

The third most checked location, with 30 checks this year according to the data, is the Muslim Community Center of Greater San Diego located on Via Fiesta.

NBC 7 Investigates contacted both the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center and Muslim Community Center of Greater San Diego, but representatives with both organizations declined to comment.

According to Hassane, Muslim community members are happy to have the extra SDPD presence. He said it gives them a sense of safety and protection.

Hassane said President Donald Trump’s presidency and the current political climate have contributed to increased harassment of Muslim community members in public places. In San Diego, Hassane said people frequently drive by the Center shouting insults and bad words.

“We believe that the rhetoric we have experienced during the election campaign and after the inauguration gave kind of permission, or the green light, to people to show their hatred to their Muslim neighbors,” Hassane said.

FBI statistics show 84 hate crimes were reported in San Diego in 2016, up from 73 in 2015. 10 percent of the 2016 hate crimes were categorized as anti-Islamic. 

Wahl said he disagrees that there has been an increase in homeland security checks at any particular location this year. He said the data don't paint a full picture of where police are checking most often because officers don’t always create a record of homeland security checks.

As a result, the actual number of checks is likely greater than the data show.

Wahl said police perform homeland security checks at religious centers, infrastructure locations, ballgames and people’s homes. He recalled being sent to do checks at a water treatment facility in San Diego in the wake of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

“We’re always monitoring things from a global perspective,” Wahl said. “Depending on what’s happening out there would help drive the need for homeland security checks. It just depends on what’s happening in the world today.”

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Poway Unified School District Makes Back-To-School Singing Video ]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 06:17:41 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Poway-Back-to-School-Clip.jpg

Volunteer students at Poway Unified School District spent the summer making a sing-a-long video for students going back to school.

A team of student producers, editors and cinematographers put together the video starting in June, completing it last week, according to the district.

Check out their final product!

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<![CDATA[Who Are the Fascist-Fighting Coalition 'Antifa'?]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 08:53:17 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/antifaactivistsfeuerherd.jpg

During a combative press conference Tuesday, President Donald Trump dubbed the anti-racist protest groups the "alt-left" and blamed "both sides" for the violent clashes that resulted one death, and injured more than a dozen others, NBC News reported.

Who exactly are the protesters that violently clashed with white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia?

What is 'Antifa?'
Antifa is short for "anti-fascist." It is a loosely organized coalition of protesters, left-wing activists, and self-described anarchists who vow to physically confront "fascists" — meaning anyone who espouses bigoted or totalitarian views, NBC News reported.

How long have they been around?
Anti-government and anti-fascist protesters have disrupted protest movements in Europe for decades. Today, they are most frequently seen clashing with riot police during summits of major world leaders, as in last month's "Welcome to Hell" protest against G-20 leaders in Berlin.

What are they protesting?
In the wake of President Trump's election, Antifa organizations across the country issued rallying cries on social media to rise up and fight back against the wave of hate crimes and white nationalism that's spiked across the nation.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Steve Helber, File]]>
<![CDATA[San Diego's Green Flash Expands Production to Nebraska]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 07:49:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Green-Flash-Brewing-Cheers-Instagram.jpg

San Diego-based Green Flash Brewing Co. plans to expand into Nebraska, with a Lincoln production facility and tasting room set to open by the end of this year.

It will be the third brewery for the Mira Mesa-headquartered company and its first in the Midwest. A statement from the brewer said Green Flash has purchased a 10,000-square-foot production facility with a restaurant in Nebraska’s state capital, where it will join a burgeoning craft beer community.

Officials said the new brewery was purchased intact from another undisclosed company that previously owned it, at a price that was also not disclosed. The Green Flash expansion into Nebraska follows last year’s opening of a new brewery and tasting room in Virginia Beach, Va., as the company seeks to bolster its position as a national brand via regional strongholds in key U.S. cities.

“We hope to become a local favorite in our new Nebraska home,” said Green Flash co-founder Mike Hinkley. “And we’re excited to be closer to our fans across the Midwest. We’ll be sending them fresher Green Flash beer, and hope they will visit us in Lincoln.”

Officials said the new facility will employ more than 20. This will be the first full-scale restaurant venture by Green Flash, with approximately 2,000 square feet dedicated to food and beer service in a space with about 100 seats.

The new facility will operate with a 10,000-barrel annual capacity, under the direction of Brewmaster Erik Jensen. The Nebraska location will brew beers of both Green Flash and Alpine Beer, the East County beer-maker acquired by Green Flash in 2014.

Green Flash Brewing was founded in 2002, and its beers are currently available in all 50 states and select international markets through distribution arrangements. It is the third-largest of more than 100 beer companies based in San Diego County, brewing more than 91,000 barrels in 2016 while employing more than 200 locally.

According to the Brewers Association trade group, Green Flash is the nation’s 37th largest craft beer brewer and the 46th largest beer-maker overall based on 2016 sales volume.

Photo Credit: Green Flash Brewing Co./Instagram
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<![CDATA[Watch: Photographer Hit in Groin After Ceremonial 1st Pitch]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 19:06:30 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-520535618.jpg

The ceremonial first pitch at Fenway Park missed its target Wednesday night and gave a nearby photographer something to remember.

Red Sox fan Jordan Leandre’s pitch went off course and struck photographer Tony Capobianco in the groin.

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The photographer took the hit in stride and had a laugh about it on Twitter that night.

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Leandre was also in good humor after the humiliating pitch seen all over the world.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images
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